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Moneydance: iPhone app makes the best even better


Without a doubt the best accounts package for the Mac is Mondeydance. It's not the prettiest, but it is rock solid and does everything you could reasonably expect of an accounts package. The joy of it is that you can make it as simple or as complicated as you like and it is suitable for beginners right through to professional book-keepers. Unlike many personal accounts packages, the "categories" – to show income and expenditure under various headings – are not simply tags but fully-functioning accounts which allow proper journalling to keep even your accountant happy. Yet the beginner never sees this and doesn't need to know about it.

Moneydance will track all your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgages, investments, assets and liabilities.

Now, for the first time, we have an iPhone app (it also works on the iPad, of course) which syncs with the desktop program. Up to now I've been entering raw data into Pocket Money on the iPhone – that is also a wonderful stand-alone app if that's what you need – but now have just one home for all my entries. For a V1 release, the Moneydance iPhone app (it's free, by the way) is outstanding. It's not intended as a full accounts package as, for instance, Pocket Money, but as an adjunct to the desktop package it is just right.

One of the big advantages of the desktop version of Moneydance is that there are versions for most platforms, including Mac, Windows and Linux. The data file is universal so you can save your data on a Mac and then open it on a Windows machine. I store my data file on Dropbox so the latest version is available wherever I'm working. A couple of years ago I had cause to thank Moneydance for this universality. My MacBook gave up the ghost while I was away from home. I desperately needed to access my accounts data (which I had on a backup disk) so I borrowed a PC, downloaded the app from the Moneydance site and was able to open and work on my file with no problems.

I can thoroughly recommend Moneydance for the Mac. It costs about £30, plus local taxes. 


  1. MichaelI do agree that Moneydance is good – if a little ugly. However, for me hands down the best finance app – crossplatform – is You Need a Budget 3 (YNAB). Its written on the Air platform so the file can be opened in Mac, Widows or Linux. For the average user its just great and ensures that you know where every penny is going – before its spent (and that’s the really important thing about it).

    However, if you need multi currency support (as I believe you do) ……. I’m afraid that is still to come.


  2. Yes you are right, Paul. I do use multi-currencies all the time. And I need good investment tracking. Monedance is not pretty, as you say, and I’m always willing to be seduced by a pretty UI. I will have a look at YNAB to see if I like it. I don’t use budgets in Moneydance, so pre-planning isn’t high on my agenda. Good to see you are still reading my waffles.

  3. Yes – always “lurking” courtesy of an RSS feed to NetNewswire!

    YNAB probably will not be of much interest if you are not using the Budget feature or if you use Moneydance for tracking investments.

    I have also be following, with interest, your iPad experiences. Still debating what I should go for – iPad or iPhone 4 (having only had the 3GS for 6 months!). I don’t think I cannot justify both. The iPad data package at £10 pm looks attractive for the 3G version.

  4. iPad or new iPhone 4 is a difficult one. As you’ve seen, I am not a total iPad convert, largely because I find it too big. Its big strength is reading newspapers and magazines, in my opinion. If you want to do a lot of that (for instance using NNW and Instapaper) it’s for you. It also makes a reasonable laptop replacement for much of the time. As a book reader I think it is too big. Strange to say, I actually enjoy reading more on the iPhone because I always have it with me. And the iPhone 4 with the higher resolution screen should be even better. Another plus for the iPhone 4 (and, think, for iOS 4 in general on your current phone) is the ability to use an external bluetooth keyboard. This further extends the phone’s capabilities for on-the-road composition. However, since you’ve already go the 3GS, why not just update the iOS 4 and go for the iPad?

  5. Hi Michael,

    Thanks for the comment you left on my blog, much appreciated. I actually saw you talking about MD just a few days ago and you gave me the idea to write about it.

    All the best,Ricky

  6. Thanks Michael for your advice on iPhone v iPad – off topic I know!

    Whilst I might lust after an iPhone 4 I doubt I will use any of the new features other than the new sharper screen an iOS4!

    iPad therefore makes a lot more sense for mePaul


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